UW-Eau Claire Alumni

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award
2017 Recipients

Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award: Recognizes distinguished service to the community, state or nation in a manner that brings credit upon the recipient and the university.

Randy Larson
Randall Larson

Randall Larson í79, bachelorís degree in accounting 

After graduating from UW-Eau Claire and earning his MBA at UW-Madison, Randall Larson began what would be a more than 20-year career with the audit, tax and advisory firm KPMG.
Larson spent his first nine years with KPMG in Denver, Colorado, and then moved to the firm's national office in New York City. He was nominated by KPMG for a professional accounting fellowship at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, D.C., where he served for two years before returning to KPMG in New York as a national office partner. He then transferred to San Jose, California, where KPMG ultimately promoted him to the role of western area risk management partner and a member of the firm’s Risk Management Committee.
In 2002, he left KPMG to become the chief financial officer at TransMontaigne Inc., a Fortune 500 company in Denver that is a leading distributor of unbranded refined petroleum products. In 2006 he was promoted to chief executive officer at TransMontaigne, a position he held until his retirement in 2009. Larson currently serves on the boards of directors of two public companies involved in the energy business.
Larson has been a donor to faculty advancement and scholarship funds in UW-Eau Claire’s College of Business. This November, he returned to campus to share his expertise with College of Business students. He also volunteered as a judge in the college's Swim with the Sharks event.

Shawn Pfaff
Shawn Pfaff

Shawn Pfaff í94, bachelorís degree in social studies education 

Shawn Pfaff’s love of government and politics has taken him on a path from middle school civics teacher to aide in Congress and the Wisconsin Governor’s office, to mayor of his community, to sought-after government relations professional with his own public affairs firm.
Pfaff credits his drive to participate in democracy to his two favorite UW-Eau Claire political science professors, Dr. Mort Sipress and the late Dr. Sylvia Sipress. Following college, he was a middle school civics and industrial arts teacher for three years in Holmen and Mt. Horeb, where he also coached high school football and softball. He then pursued an opportunity to work as a legislative aide in Congress for three years, focusing on agricultural and trade issues.
After earning his master’s degree in public affairs from UW-Madison, Pfaff joined the administration of then Governor Jim Doyle as an agency affairs advisor, and he served as deputy manager for Doyle’s successful 2006 re-election campaign. He then became a senior associate with Capitol Consultants Inc., a bipartisan lobbying firm. In 2013, he opened his own government and media relations firm, Pfaff Public Affairs, and works with several leading statewide organizations, primarily agriculture related, advising and advocating for his clients with state lawmakers and agency officials.
Pfaff also served as the mayor of Fitchburg from 2011 to 2015. As a former member of the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Association board and current member of the Chancellor’s Council, he has provided strategic advice to university officials regarding legislative advocacy at the State Capitol.


View the list of past recipients of this award.